Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2018 Gr 4–8—Ana María Reyes doesn't live in a castle, she lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her three sisters and both parents in Washington Heights, New York City. Ana María is caring, outspoken, and impulsive, driven by her emotions but also very goal-oriented. She yearns to attend a private academy, the Eleanor School, but her family doesn't have the money for tuition. To earn a scholarship, she must pass a test and impress the judges playing the piano in a showcase recital at Lincoln Center. She is determined to study and practice every day, but finds it hard to do as part of a large and growing family. Her mother is expecting a new baby and her aunt is getting married. The family travels to the Dominican Republic for the wedding, where the protagonist gets know her family better and makes a new friend. While there, Ana María struggles to grasp the socioeconomic disparities she sees within her own family and community. Somehow, she finds time to practice, helps her family and friends through tough situations, and learns to deal with and accept the consequences of her actions. This middle grade novel is an engaging, character-driven story about an 11-year-old Dominican American girl who is learning about herself and to appreciate her family and friends. It is an authentic representation of a successful immigrant, middle class Latinx family who values education, community, and family and stays true to their roots. VERDICT An excellent book for tweens in upper elementary grades and for middle school library collections.—Cynthia Molinar, Medio Creek Elementary SWISD, San Antonio - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2018 Ana María lives in a small New York City apartment with her three sisters and her parents. It's already a bit cramped, but now her mom is pregnant—how will they fit another person into their already confined space? Well, Ana María’s parents have some bunk-bed ideas, but that doesn't help Ana María, who struggles with feeling underappreciated and invisible, at times. When she hears about a scholarship to an exclusive private academy, she knows that's what she wants, and she'll need time to practice her piano if she's going to get in. When it comes to her goals, Ana María is driven and single-minded, and if the people around her think that makes her snobbish and selfish, so what? But when her family heads to the Dominican Republic to visit Ana María's Tía Nona, a successful doctor, Ana María starts to realize how the image she projects matters. A warmhearted exploration of self-discovery and family bonds. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.